The National Pork Producers Council objects to the Environmental Protection Agency’s new deadline for pork producers to comply with a pending rule on concentrated animal feeding operations. In written comments, the group also is opposed to a requirement to develop and implement nutrient management plans.

EPA is proposing March 30, 2007, as the deadline despite the fact that it doesn’t expect to have a final CAFO rule until the end of 2006. NPPC claims that both state organizations and producers will need more time to respond to the final rule.

EPA had issued in February 2003 a new rule that redefined CAFOs and required pork producers to apply for permits to comply with federal clean water provisions related to discharges and to develop and implement nutrient management plans. The deadlines for complying with the requirements had been Feb. 13, 2006, and Dec. 31, 2006.

NPPC and other agriculture organizations mounted a successful legal challenge to the rule, winning an exemption from obtaining a permit for CAFOs that do not discharge “pollutants.” The court decision forced EPA to revise its 2003 CAFO rule, and the agency proposed new deadlines.

In its comments to EPA, NPPC opposed a single deadline for pork producers to propose and implement nutrient management plans. It suggests two deadlines since proposed plans must be reviewed and approved by EPA, made available for public review and comment and incorporated into discharge permits.

NPPC also asked the agency to clarify for its regional offices and state environmental agencies that its final rule will not require all CAFOs to apply for discharge permits. NPPC said EPA should stay all current deadlines from the 2003 CAFO rule, pending proposal and circulation of the new CAFO rule.

NPPC